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BermudaOctober 13, 2008 By: Joe Pike Travel Agent
New and revamped resorts boost business
To keep you in the loop, Travel Agent pulled together some of the latest updates on what is once again becoming a popular island destination.
The private pink sand beach at The Reefs
New Hotels and Resorts
Widely recognized as one of the best hotels in Bermuda, The Reefs has undergone an expansion of facilities as a new luxury private residence club is being built next door.
The first phase of enhancements was completed in April and included a new bar and lounge, redesigned reception area and expanded restrooms. Not all of the rooms are open, so availability is still limited.
There will be 19 fractional units added to the inventory. The Reefs was able to open up its two new restaurants, Ocean Echo and Royston’s, to its in-house guests over the Cup Match holiday. Coconuts, the property’s other restaurant, has been open only to its guests as well, although they will soon be gradually lifting the restrictions so that local residents can enjoy these facilities. Presently, this property has 63 units in its inventory (down from its pre-construction level of 65), and its 19 fractional units are expected to be available by May.
Tucker’s Point might be the most important of Bermuda’s new products, since it opens the door to the luxury market. In fact, this 200-acre waterfront property is said to be Bermuda’s first luxury resort, private club and residential community. It has been opening in phases, with the golf course’s debut in May of 2002, the Beach Club in late 2003 and the Golf Clubhouse in December of 2004. The Tucker’s Point Hotel & Spa began construction in 2006 and is scheduled to be finished by 2009.
Horizons and Cottages had reopened in April as a bed-and-breakfast, and its fully operational restaurant, Splendido, opened in August. Plans are in place to keep the hotel open at least until March 2009, and possibly throughout the rest of the year. Future plans for its redevelopment will be on the way.
The pool area at Newstead Belmont Hills and Spa offers views of the harbor
Newstead Belmont Hills Resort & Spa opened for business in May. This boutique hotel is right on the harbor, offering views of the city of Hamilton and the Great Sound. Each residence features views over the gardens and the infinity pool to the ocean, across to Hamilton. The spa has the best views of all, with large windows in the exercise room and the lounge. Complimentary beverages are also served. For privacy, there is one wet room and four intimate treatment rooms.
Grotto Bay Beach Resort recently began offering spa treatments in its 500,000-year-old caves. As the name of the resort indicates, the 21-acre oceanfront property features several caves with lakes. In April, the Resort began offering spa treatments in one of these caves. On top of that, the property also recently underwent major renovations to more than 70 percent of its guest rooms.
One very important note is that the popular Bay City Guest House closed its doors as a tourist facility in mid-July.
Glimpse of Bermuda’s Future
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company plans to open a 220-suite hotel at Bermuda’s former Golden Hind property. Ritz-Carlton is also expected to manage a 152-room property to be built at Bermuda’s Par-la-Ville parking lot in the city of Hamilton. Bermuda Resort Hotels has plans for major development at the Harmony Club, including an increase to the inventory by almost 30 rooms, transforming it to an all-suite hotel. Hampton Inns may put its branding on the facility, which would have a total of 95 rooms.
Ariel Sands will be a combination of hotel rooms and fractionals for a total of 60 rooms. Coco Reefs will be a beachfront development with a residential component for a total of 66 rooms. Fairmont Southampton is planning a major development in Bermuda with a fractional component. Specifically, there will be 65 fractionals and 74 sole-ownership units.
See more of Fairmont resorts on Bermuda in the video below:
Bazarian International has received governmental approval to redevelop the old Club Med in Bermuda. The new property will be managed by St. Regis and will have 210 rooms. Developers recently announced that construction for a new five-star resort hotel on the site of the old Wyndham Beach Resort in Southampton Parish would begin in the second half of 2009 for an opening date in late 2011. The completed hotel is expected to have more than 150 luxury hotel rooms, a spa, several pools and restaurants and a private club, which will all cater to the needs of both international tourists and local Bermudians. The property will also offer fully serviced beach villas around the property’s three coves.
The Port Royal Golf Club is being completely renovated and will reopen between January and February. Nick Faldo’s internationally renowned company Faldo Design has signed on to redesign the St. George’s Golf Course.
Passengers wishing to roll the dice while in Bermuda will now be able to do so without leaving the ship. According to a report this summer in the Royal Gazette, a Bermuda newspaper, the island’s government will allow cruise ships to operate their casinos, bars and shops while in port, a decision aimed at warding off competition from rival cruise destinations. Dr. Ewart F. Brown, Bermuda’s premier and tourism minister, has said that ships would be allowed to open bars, shops and casinos after 10 p.m. while in port. In return, cruise lines would be required to contribute money to on-island activities. The Opposition United Bermuda Party has since opposed the move, claiming it would serve as a gateway to making gambling legal on the island. Gambling has historically been a contentious issue in Bermuda.
Holland America Line will begin sailing from New York to Bermuda again in late August 2010. The new itinerary will include multi-day stops at both Hamilton and St. George’s, Bermuda’s cultural and shopping hubs, and will include 10 roundtrips to the island between August and October 2010; in 2011 it will include a full season of 20 or more sailings. Holland America first sailed to Bermuda more than 70 years ago.
Bermuda Avoids Airline Mess
While airline cutbacks are hurting many island destinations, Bermuda is faring somewhat better than most.
Bermuda is served by American Airlines; Continental Airlines; Delta Air Lines; JetBlue Airways; US Airways; USA 3000; Air Canada; and British Airways. Nonstop service is available from Atlanta; Boston; Miami; Newark and New York; Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; Halifax, Nova Scotia; London; and Toronto. Connecting service is available from all other major cities. The fact that Bermuda is not affected by the airline cutbacks is perhaps an indication that the island has a loyal base of repeat clients.
This past month, Premier Brown shared the stage with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other dignitaries at the grand opening of JetBlue Airways’ new passenger terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
At the conference, Brown said, “JetBlue has provided the people of Bermuda and our visitors a reliable and dependable service since 2006. That service has also been affordable—something for which we are particularly grateful.”
With tourism on the rise, Bermuda was named host city for next year's Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference
Bermuda to Host 13th Annual CHITC in April
Earlier this year at the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference (CHTIC) in Trinidad, Sen. Allen Chastanet, prime minister of tourism and civil aviation for St. Lucia, mentioned Bermuda as a destination that he expects to thrive. The following day, Bermuda was announced as host for the 13th annual CHTC from April 14-16, 2009, at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess.
By the Numbers
Total visitation to Bermuda for the second quarter of 2008 was 222,821. Air arrivals for the month of August were 37,007. As of August, air arrivals in 2008 totaled 205,134. Air arrivals from the United States were 26,622; 3,347 from Canada; 4,006 from the UK; 1,381 from the rest of Europe; and 1,591 from the rest of the world. The intended average length of stay during August was 5.69 nights. There were 47,855 cruise passenger arrivals in August. Total arrivals for that month were 84,919. As of August, there have been 435,391 visitors to Bermuda in 2008.